Catholic group organizes walk for the poor

Liz Polasek, Mary Wills, Pat Cline, and Frank Arcangeli meet to plan the Walk for the Poor event.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

As the date approaches for the 3rd annual St. Vincent de Paul Society Walk for the Poor, a planning committee is meeting at St. Martin of Tours in Vicksburg, working out details for the September 24 event.

The group is made up of volunteers from St. Edwards of Mendon and St. Martin. The members work quietly but effectively to help callers who need assistance with meeting needs, including overdue rent, housing, utility bills. They are part of a worldwide community of lay Catholics who join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to neighbors in need.

St. Vincent de Paul members work in conjunction with churches and agencies such as South County Community Services to assist families in their specific service area. Collaboration is essential when the need is greater than the resources any one group can provide, which is common. The members offer guidance for folks not in these service areas for potential assistance. The goal is to meet the person and help them through the need with financial and personal support on an individualized basis. Tote bags stocked with personal and household products such as paper products, laundry and dish soaps and hygiene products are delivered to many families, as an extra assist. 

“The need for financial assistance continues to grow,” says Liz Polasek, co-chair of the planning committee. She explains that the Society receives calls for assistance on a daily basis, through the St. Martin of Tours Church at 269-649-1629 extension 3. Messages are picked up by volunteers Monday-Friday evenings and calls returned within 24 hours. 

The Walk for the Poor is an opportunity for a community activity that offers immediate physical and emotional rewards for walkers, and future rewards for those who will need a helping hand in coming months. “It’s okay if you aren’t able to walk with us. You can still be a part of this effort by donating or sponsoring another walker,” stresses Polasek.

“We would like to double donations for our Walk this year,” says Mary Evelyn Wills, the other co-chair. This year committee members hope for more participation and increasing awareness and outreach. “Bottom line, we need to raise more money because the need is so great,” says member Frank Arcangeli. The goal for this year is $10,000.

On September 24, participants should meet at the Vicksburg Recreational Area and Trail off 12538 South Sprinkle Road between East V and East UV Avenues. Registration forms for walkers and information about donations is available on the St. Martin of Tours parish Website at On-site registration begins at 1 p.m. at the registration tent near the parking lot in the Recreational Area, and the walk begins at about 1:30. The Recreational Trail will be marked for distance and walkers may opt to join others at a comfortable pace or set their own pace and distance. 

Questions? Call St. Martin of Tours Church at (269) 640-1629 and leave a message for St. Vincent de Paul Society at extension 3. A committee member will return the call. 

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